Minnesota Golden Gophers Playing an Unlikely Role in the College Football Playoff Picture


A media personality co-hosting a national radio show Saturday morning before games kicked off remarked that TCU hanging its hat on a nonconference win over Minnesota meant the Horned Frogs “need a different hat.”

Said pundit added that while the Golden Gophers entered the week 6-2, they were headed for 6-6.

Now, who said this and on through what outlet is irrelevant. This isn’t about calling anyone out. Rather, it reflects what is probably a pretty common sentiment: Minnesota factoring into the College Football Playoff discussion in any manner is tough to fathom.

Such opinion is also a reflection of Minnesota football in general in the last…well, for as long as I’ve been alive. The Gophers are easily overlooked because of their historic role as Big Ten bottom-feeders.

Professional talkers should probably wrap their heads around the Gophers impacting the landscape after they took Floyd of Rosedale back from rival Iowa in resounding fashion.

Minnesota’s 51-14 blowout of the Hawkeyes moved the Golden Gophers to 7-2 and perhaps a spot in the Top 25. That bodes well for TCU’s resume should the Frogs win their top-10 showdown with Kansas State, as that would leave them in contention with Baylor for a Big 12 berth into the Playoff.

Though BU won the head-to-head matchup, TCU could benefit from a more impressive resume. A strong finish for Minnesota in comparison to the brutal nonconference opponents Baylor played could give the committee reason for pause.

But Jerry Kill’s bunch has more involvement in the Playoff landscape ahead of it, starting next week when it welcomes Ohio State to Minneapolis.

The Buckeyes face Michigan State tonight in a showdown that is pretty commonly accepted as a de facto Big Ten Championship semifinal. The winner has smooth sailing ahead of it en route to the East division’s spot in Indianapolis, and thus a road map for the College Football Playoff.

But should Ohio State escape East Lansing with a win, the Buckeyes could be faced with a reality that anyone who has a backyard can attest to: Gophers are uniquely skilled at completely screwing up the landscape.

Of course, there are a number of variables at play here but that’s the nature of the college football season–especially this college football season.

It’s unpredictable and volatile to such a point that a historically downtrodden team like the Minnesota Golden Gophers could carve out its own role in the story.

Keep that in mind the next time you hear a definitive declaration about any team for the remainder of this wild and damn fun season.